‘Play A Round Downtown’ during the Wells Fargo Tournament

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WILMINGTON — Downtown Wilmington will be bustling with a range of free, family friendly activities this May to coincide with the golf tournament and other events including the One Tree Hill convention and UNCW’s graduation.

All of the activities are designed to capture the interest and imagination of both local residents and area visitors during this busy time and heighten interest in Downtown Wilmington and New Hanover County, and will be held from the first to the seventh.

A coalition of non-profit groups and businesses are driving the activities, with Wilmington Downtown Incorporated (WDI) serving as the catalyst for the partnership.

Termed “Play A Round Downtown,” the week will feature a putting green at the transportation hub (on Harnett Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets) shuttling people to and from the tournament, a scavenger hunt highlighting area shops, pubs and attractions, a free movie screening and concerts on Friday and Saturday night at Riverfront Park in front of the Federal Courthouse along Water Street.

According the WDI Chair Colin Tarrant, “we have developed an array of events to activate Downtown and appeal to a wide range of people. WDI is proud to partner with so many groups to make this happen,” he said.

RiverLights has signed on as the premier partner for the event. Located less than 5 miles from Downtown Wilmington, RiverLights is a new kind of community that celebrates family, honors nature, and breathes new life into Southern heritage.

With almost 1,400 acres and sites for 2,290 single family homes and townhomes, the RiverLights community integrates practicality for everyday living within nature’s pristine landscape.

“We are proud to be a part of Wilmington and are delighted to join this team to coordinate and operate these community activities,” said Jim Henry, vice president of operations for Newland Communities. “Wilmington and New Hanover County will be attracting international attention during the entire week and this is a great way to showcase all that we have to offer as a place to live and do business.”

Various community groups are also involved in this effort.  The Vocational Department of Cape Fear Community College will be designing, fabricating and installing the putting green. 

“This is a great way for our students to gain real-world experience,” said Shawn Dixon, CFCC Vocational Department Chair.  “We are very excited to be part of this collaboration.”

Kids Making It, a nonprofit that teaches woodworking skills for at-risk youth, is designing and constructing displays that will be used for the scavenger hunt.

“This is a fun project for us and a great way to involve our kids in a community-oriented event,” said founder Jimmy Pierce. “By placing the displays in area shops, the hunt will also gain additional exposure for the young people involved in the program.”

The Cape Fear Independent Film Network will be co-hosting a free screening of the comedy, “Happy Gilmore.”  The movie will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, at Riverfront Park.

“Film has been such an integral part our community,” said Founder Rich Gehron.  “We are happy to be part of this week’s event and show this modern comedy classic.”

Prior to the movie, organizers are encouraging people to wear golf attire and participate in a pre-show costume contest that will start at 7:45 p.m.

WDI will be hosting free concerts at Riverfront Park on May 5 and 6.  Shows will run from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will feature local favorite Bibis Ellison on Friday night and beach music from North Carolina based The Attractions on Saturday night.

According to WDI President Ed Wolverton, “we wanted to showcase local and regional talent rather than the normal tribute band format that we use for the Downtown Sundown Concert Series,” he said.  “We hope that everyone will embrace this local emphasis and enjoy these shows.”

The City of Wilmington is also a crucial partner in activating Downtown during the week.  In addition to addressing all of the logistics needed to operate the transportation hub, the City of Wilmington is also directing additional resources so Downtown is lively and safe during the entire week.

Lastly, WAVE transit will be adding a second vehicle to the free Downtown trolley service the week of the tournament to increase access to the golf transportation hub.  The route goes by City and County decks and several parking lots that offer paid parking.  To find a map of the Downtown trolley service, visit: https://www.wavetransit.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/203_pocketmap.pdf

Play A Round Downtown will take place May 1 -7, 2017.  For details on all of the events, including a downloadable entry form for the scavenger hunt, visitwww.wilmingtondowntown.com.

About Wilmington Downtown Incorporated

Wilmington Downtown, Inc. (WDI) is a public-private partnership agency that promotes the economic growth and development of Downtown Wilmington and is a tax deductible 501c3 organization.

-Content provided by Wilmington Downtown Incorporated

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